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Finally! We are now able to publish hardcover books on Amazon KDP. This has been in beta for a while and only available to a few select people. It looks like Amazon has now rolled it out to all KDP account holders and a very exciting new development.
You can easily add the hardcover version to your already existing books but it depends on the trim size. For now, there are only 5 trim sizes available so you won’t be able to offer all of your current books as hardcover unless they are the same trim size, but you can always create a new book and change the size.
Converting your existing books to hardcover is fairly easy. Amazon auto-populates most of your details and you just have to add your interior and a new cover. The covers for hardcover vary from paperback covers, but Amazon have a very useful KDP cover calculator for hardback books, which works out the dimensions for you.
It’s free to publish books on KDP and hardcovers are no exception. However, is it worth making every book into a hardcover version?
There isn’t a book that you can’t make in hardcover, but bear in mind that hardcover books are more expensive to create so they will be more expensive for our buyers. With that in mind, is it worth making hardcover notebooks, for example? My first guess would be no, but it depends on the notebook. If it is a notebook that could be given as a gift and could be kept for a long time, I feel that it can still make a good hardcover book. And some people are really into notebooks and buy them for the covers if they fit a certain design aesthetic.
Any books that need to be more durable than hardcover. For example blank recipe books would be great as they will withstand the continued use in the kitchen much better than paperback books, especially when combined with a glossy cover. Any keepsake books like wedding planner journals, garden planners, guest books (this is especially good for hardcovers), baby books, memory books and anything similar will be much better in hardcover. And most people will pay extra to have a more durable book that they can keep for many years. Always think from your buyers perspective.
Business ledgers are also a good example of books that need to be kept for a long time, so it would be an advantage to have a hardcover version.
Consider what kind of logbooks could be made using hardcover. If a logbook is designed to be kept for a long time, for example a medication log book or similar, then the buyer would prefer a more sturdy hardcover option. Hardcovers are great if the person writing in them needs them to be more supportive than a floppy paperback. For example, a mechanic or inspector using a logbook while standing might find it easier to use a hardcover book as it offers more support when writing.
Everything you need to know is on the Amazon KDP help pages that show you how to format a hardcover book. You can also find a detailed explanation on how to format your cover here.
The only thing I found confusing at first was the page-turn direction. You have to choose between Left to Right or Right to Left. I was confused because I imagined turning the page and I would normally do this from right to left. However, it turns out that the correct option is Left to Right because it is the reading or writing direction that they refer to, not the actual turning of the page. Very confusing!
There are also very helpful tutorials on Youtube that walk you through the process and it’s especially easy if you’re just making your existing paperback books with the hardcover option. You can of course also create new books in hardcover, without having to create the paperback version first. Personally I think that having as many versions as possible is of benefit as it gives your buyers more choices, where possible.
I always aim to make around $3 in royalties at least, but this can vary from book to book. When producing a hardcover book, the printing cost is considerably higher so you need to adjust your price accordingly. I still aim for the $3 in royalties but I also take into account the competition. I don’t believe that people are looking for cheap books on Amazon, I believe that people are happy to pay a higher price for the right book. If they believe a book will solve a problem or be of value to them, then price is not their main consideration. So don’t be afraid to charge a reasonable amount for your book, taking into account the time and effort that you put in to create it.